Two classmates who backed U2 rock star The Edge at a once-in-a-lifetime gig in the Sistine Chapel say the experience has inspired them to make music part of their lives.
We caught up with third-year Cork city students Claudia Sheehan, 14, from Fairhill, and Nicole Alcock, 15, from Gurranabraher who were - as you will see - still buzzing from their performance of a lifetime.
Claudia and Nicole were among a choir of seven Irish students who performed with The Edge during his historic acoustic set in Vatican City.
Attending Terence McSwiney Community College, the pair who are now preparing for their Junior Cert exams said they will remember the gig forever.
“It was just unbelievable — the whole experience was surreal. I still can’t quite comprehend it and it took a while to realise just how unbelievable it was,” Nicole said.
Claudia, who described it as an “amazing experience”, said: “It’s still sinking in. But Edge told us to be yourself and, that if you work hard, you can do what you want to do in life.”
Edge became the first artist to stage a contemporary music concert inside the Sistine Chapel on Saturday as part of a conference on regenerative medicine.
The U2 guitarist, who described the Pope’s chapel as the “most beautiful parish hall in the world”, performed a short acoustic set, including U2’s ‘Walk On’, ‘Yahweh’, and ‘Ordinary Love’, and was backed by the choir for a cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘If It Be Your Will’.
The choir was specially formed for the gig with students Abbie Kelly, Cillian Dooley, Katie Brennan’ and Joe Jennings from Carlow, Naoise Hughes from Mayo, and Claudia and Nicole from Cork, selected from certain U2 co-funded Music Generation music education programmes around the country.
They spent nine weeks rehearsing with musical director and arranger Dawn Kenny and performed with The Edge before an audience of some 200 doctors, scientists, researchers, and philanthropists, who were attending the conference.
Nicole and Claudia’s principal Phil O’Flynn said The Edge was extremely generous with his time, and chatted to all the students for ages.
“These girls have extraordinary vocal talents and they were a credit to themselves, to the school, to the Music Generation programme, and to the country,” she said.
“Music Generation has uncovered so much amazing talent that had never been tapped into. It has helped build confidence and encouraged students to express themselves,” she said.
Music Generation national director, Rosaleen Molloy congratulated the choir members on their stunning performance.
“Truly they have done both Music Generation and their country proud. We look forward to following their bright musical journeys over the coming years,” she said.
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